Postgraduate research 

Infectious Disease PhD/iPhD/MSc (Research)

Close-up of gloved hands in lab

We take a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of infectious disease that combines mathematical and statistical modelling with ecology, evolutionary biology, parasitology, immunology and bioinformatics and the social sciences.

  • PhD: 3-4 years full-time; 5 years part-time;
  • MSc (Research): 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time;
  • IPhD: 5 years full-time;

Research projects

IPhD self-funded projects (November-April)

Our Integrated PhD combines an MSc and PhD project in a 1+3+1 format.
You can select from the below projects and indentify your chosen MSc from the options listed on the project.

Please note that you can apply for the below PhD projects outwith the IPhD route.

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Biomarkers of Severe Malaria: Genetics and biology of growth rate and pathogenicity in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum

Supervisor: Lisa Ranford-Cartwright

MSc choice: Infection Biology (with specialisms) [MSc]

Summary: Human malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children globally, but the outcome of the disease is largely unpredictable – many children will develop only a mild disease whereas a minority will progress rapidly to severe disease with a high mortality rate. Several host (human) factors decrease the likelihood of developing severe, life-threatening malaria, but parasite characteristics contributing to increased risk of morbidity and mortality are not well characterised.

The aim of this project is to discover parasite biomarkers that could be used clinically, to identify those children most at risk of developing severe disease. The project will focus on identifying parasite genes which confer faster growth rates in the blood, specifically (1) the duration of the intraerythrocytic development (cycle time), (2) the number of offspring generated within each RBC (merozoites per schizont), and (3) the invasion efficiency of the resulting merozoites into new RBC. All of these parameters are known to be under genetic control as a result of the extensive polymorphisms in the genomes of different P. falciparum parasites.

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Overview

The School of Biodiversity, One Health, and Veterinary Medicine has considerable strengths in epidemiology, particularly in the areas of quantitative modelling, genetic analysis, surveillance, immunology and vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, vector ecology and one-health approaches to disease management. Much of our focus is on endemic and 'neglected' diseases, pathogens of veterinary importance, zoonoses, and studying the biology of these pathogens in their natural context, particularly in developing countries.

We take a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of infectious diseases, recognising that epidemiology is very much the ecology of infectious diseases, and thereby benefiting greatly from overlap with strengths in spatial and quantitative ecology. Our modelling is developed in close proximity to data, and focused on estimation of parameters relevant to dynamics and control using innovative statistical methodologies. The advent of new sequencing technologies will revolutionise the way we study epidemiology, particularly regarding processes that influence disease transmission, which is usually a very 'hidden' process.

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators within the Institutes. A variety of approaches are used, including ecology, epidemiology, mathematical, computational and statistical modelling, bioinformatics, parasitology, immunology and polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics). Basic and applied science projects are available for study, as are field-based projects with research programs underway in both the UK and overseas. Specific areas of interest include:

  • infectious disease dynamics in wild and domestic animal populations
  • wildlife diseases and conservation
  • network analysis of disease spread
  • phylodynamics
  • model-based statistical inference using Bayesian approaches
  • vector biology, ecology and control
  • life-history trade-offs and the sustainable control of malaria
  • vaccine development
  • quantitative approaches to vaccine selection
  • host-parasite interactions and immunogenetics
  • wild immunology
  • molecular ecology and evolution
  • zoonoses and neglected tropical diseases and the science of intervention
  • ecosystem and One Health
  • social and ecological impacts of disease
  • game theory and the design of disease control programs
  • antibiotic and anthelminthic resistance
  • design of vaccination programs
  • within-host pathogen dynamics
  • evolutionary game theory
  • theory of diversity measurement and its application
  • ecology and evolution of emerging infectious diseases
  • ecology of multi-host pathogens
  • ecology and evolution of vector-borne pathogens
  • environmental drivers of pathogen spread
  • micro and macro-parasitic infections

Study options

PhD

  • Duration: 3/4 years full-time; 5 years part-time

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators.

Integrated PhD programmes (5 years)

Our Integrated PhD allows you to combine masters level teaching with your chosen research direction in a 1+3+1 format. 

International students with MSc and PhD scholarships/funding do not have to apply for 2 visas or exit and re-enter the country between programmes. International and UK/EU students may apply.

Year 1

Taught masters level modules are taken alongside students on our masters programmes. Our research-led teaching supports you to fine tune your research ideas and discuss these with potential PhD supervisors. You will gain a valuable introduction to academic topics, research methods, laboratory skills and the critical evaluation of research data. Your grades must meet our requirements in order to gain entry on to your pre-selected PhD research project. If not, you will have the options to pay outstanding MSc fees and complete with masters degree only.

Years 2, 3 and 4

PhD programme with research/lab work, completing an examinable piece of independent research in year 4.

Year 5

Thesis write up.

MSc (Research)

  • Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no subtests under 6.0
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Common equivalent English language qualifications accepted for entry to this programme:

TOEFL (ibt, my best or athome)

  • 79; with Reading 13; Listening 12; Speaking 18;Writing 21
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements , this includes TOEFL mybest.

Pearsons PTE Academic

  • 59 with minimum 59 in all subtests
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

  • 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Oxford English Test

  • Oxford ELLT 7
  • R&L: OIDI level no less than 6 with Reading: 21-24 Listening: 15-17
  • W&S: OIDI level no less than 6

Trinity College Tests

Integrated Skills in English II & III & IV: ISEII Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees

2024/25

  • UK: To be confirmed by UKRI [23/24 fee was £4,712]
  • International & EU: £30,240

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Irish nationals who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status, and Internationals with Indefinite Leave to remain status can also qualify for home fee status.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Possible additional fees

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Funding

The iPhD  is not supported by University of Glasgow Scholarship/Funding

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our overarching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Resources

Our excellent facilities  for lab, field and farm-based research and dedicated staff, will equip you with training complementary to a range of career options, and you can tailor your study pathway to the precise aspects that suit your objectives. This includes aquaria, aviaries, insectaries and labs for conducting analyses in:

  • bioinformatics
  • cellular physiology
  • developmental biology
  • evolutionary biology
  • endocrinology
  • molecular ecology
  • physiological ecology

We also have:

  • a state of the art field research centre on Loch Lomond, Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE)
  • a university farm (Cochno Farm) and research centre North of Glasgow
  • excellent computing facilities
  • a vibrant and supportive community of researchers
  • access to additional specialist facilities through our wide network of collaborators in NGOs, communities, government agencies and research institutes worldwide.

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.

IPhD applicants do not need to contact a supervisor, as you will choose from a list of IPhD projects. Each project has named supervisors.

Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document
  3. Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional [except iPhD applicants, where only one academic or professional reference is required]. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area. iPhD applicants do not need to submit any of these as you will start your programme by choosing a masters.
  5. Completed College of MVLS Postgraduate Research Cover Letter

Notes for iPhD applicants

  • add 'I wish to study the MSc in (select MSc from IPhD project choices) as the masters taught component of the IPhD' in the research proposal box
  • For supervisor name, please ensure you write the named supervisors from your chosen IPhD project.
Apply now

Contact us

Before you apply

PhD/MSc/MD: email mvls-gradschool@glasgow.ac.uk

iPhD: email mvls-iphd@glasgow.ac.uk

After you have submitted your application

PhD/MSc/MD/iPhD: contact our Admissions team

Any references may be submitted by email to: rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk